Venue is a cumulative, participatory exploration on nearly a continental scale — a twenty-first century expedition on which you are all invited.
At 6pm on June 8, 2012, at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada, Venue launches, popping up for the first time to document the site of its origin before heading out into northern Nevada, southern California, Utah, and Colorado, on the first leg of its sixteen month-long mission.
Throughout Venue's travels, you can follow along, both online and off, by reading our latest dispatches, suggesting sites and people we should visit, and keeping an eye on our schedule (or signing up for our mailing list) to find out when we will be bringing Venue to your neighborhood.
Events as mainstream as TED or as off-beat as Postopolis! all have difficulty wandering too far from the urban cores that provide a guaranteed infrastructure and public audience.
Those events, in other words, always need a venue.
Yet many of the most interesting sites, projects, phenomena, and people in North America can be found far outside the cities, hundreds of miles from anywhere else or each other. Venue will thus bring the venue to them, producing a curated X-ray of the greater North American landscape in the process: setting up a temporary community of idea exchange everywhere it stops and knitting together a sense of this greater but otherwise sadly invisible whole.
As a mobile interview studio, pop-up media rig, and nomadic, multiformat event platform, Venue's design and curatorial focus take inspiration from a wide range of sources, from historical survey expeditions to conceptual art collective Ant Farm's Media Van.
Above all, Venue is fueled by a curiosity about the environment around us, the ways in which we alter or are altered by it, and the tools with which we attempt to measure or describe it. As such, it functions as a kind of field unit or forward operating probe for the Nevada Museum of Art's pioneering Center for Art + Environment, whose curatorial, research, and scholarly endeavors all focus on the interaction between people and the natural, built, and virtual landscapes around them.
North America is an increasingly urbanized continent. Nonetheless, you cannot hope to understand its cities without exploring their various -sheds — the watersheds, foodsheds, and other resources, from minerals to the air itself — that supply an enabling context for human settlement.
Venue will thus go behind the scenes of the twenty-first-century metropolis to visit the remote landscapes — the quarries and mines, the reservoirs and farms — that both form and are formed by urbanization. In this way, Venue also provides an expanded platform for research and conversation for its other major institutional partner, Studio-X NYC, part of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation's global network of advanced laboratories for exploring the future of cities.
What to Expect?
Over the next sixteen months, Venue will visit a huge variety of infrastructural landmarks, factories, scientific laboratories, film sets, archaeological excavations, art installations, university departments, design firms, National Parks, urban farms, corporate offices, studios, town halls, and other locations across North America, in order to record and broadcast original interviews, tours, and site visits.
Some of these events, such as our launch, will be open to the public, so that you can participate in person. All of them, however, will be documented online here, so that you can explore our ever-growing interactive archive as we go along.
By traveling with a wide range of instruments, from high-tech audio and video equipment to custom-designed devices that reflect radar and measure the blueness of the sky, we've made sure that Venue’s recorded and streamed output will be as unique and multi-faceted as the conversations it hosts.
So we're thrilled to be hitting the road! Stay tuned — and we look forward to meeting many of you in person along the way.